The National Land Commission (NLC) has intervened in the ongoing dispute over the land occupied by the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), commonly known as Comesa grounds. The commission, through its CEO Kabale Tache, has halted an initial plan to allocate portions of the land, directing the Nairobi government’s environment department to cease any activities related to the property due to an ongoing parliamentary inquiry.

In a letter addressed to Stephen Gathuita, the environment executive of Nairobi County, Tache informed that the NLC has rescinded an earlier communication sent to the county. This initial letter, signed by a Mrs. PM Kariuki, had notified Nairobi County about the availability of the land for subdivision, particularly the portion used by KICC for parking purposes.

The decision to retract the directive follows a review by the commission, which deemed the contents of the earlier communication as erroneous and premature. The NLC emphasized that the status of the land had not been formally discussed and adopted by its plenary. Furthermore, the matter is subject to scrutiny by the National Assembly Parliamentary Committee, stemming from an audit query.

Tache clarified that until the NLC formally deliberates on the land’s status and the parliamentary inquiry concludes, any decisions regarding the allocation or subdivision of the property remain pending. The commission expressed regret for any inconvenience caused and officially withdrew the earlier communication sent to Nairobi County.

This development comes amidst heightened scrutiny from the National Assembly’s Public Investments Committee on Commercial and Energy Affairs regarding the disputed land. Committee chairperson David Pkosing raised concerns about potential irregularities in the handling of the KICC land matter. Specifically, questions have been raised about how the land was vested in the county government despite KICC falling under the jurisdiction of the national government.

Additionally, there have been discrepancies in valuing the land occupied by KICC, with the Auditor General highlighting discrepancies in the reported value. The uncertainty surrounding the ownership of certain portions of the land, including the Comesa parking area and the courtyard featuring Jomo Kenyatta’s monument, further complicates the matter.

A letter from the Head of Public Service to the Lands Cabinet Secretary clarified that the disputed land has been gazetted as a national monument and is considered part of the KICC corporation. However, the resolution of this issue remains pending until the parliamentary inquiry concludes and the NLC reaches a formal decision on the land’s status.

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